ITCHY FEET AND SAILS BEGGING TO BE UNFURLED
Lighting, thunder, and torrential rain woke us up yesterday morning. It stayed dreary and cloudy all day, and other than one trip to free the water out of the dinghy that had become a bathtub and a trip to visit the Custom’s Office to extend s/v Somewhere’s stay, we pretty much confined ourselves to the boat and did chores.
Jim rewired for the switch on the compasses in the cockpit. The original schematic had them on when we turned on our mast and deck lights in the cockpit. Since we don't really need to light the compasses when we're sleeping, Jim fixed that issue, and saved the lifetime of those bulbs.
We also have spent a great deal of time the past week on solving a problem with the generator. I won’t get technical, because that would fill up an entire page with detail, but suffice it to say that there is a new heat exchanger on the way here from the States and hopefully we won’t be blowing impellor parts up anymore. And don't get me started on importing stuff and the paperwork involved-geeze.
Oil has been changed, bilges cleaned, software for all the navigation instruments updated, replaced our wifi extender, new cutlass bearing, got bottom job, had an engine hoist made and situated on the stern for the dinghy , installed new bilge ventilator fans….the list is endless on the chores we have completed while we sit out hurricane season.
As much as we love Grenada, though, we’re getting antsy to move on. The outbreak of chikungunya on the island has us terribly concerned as we see friend after friend confined to their boats sick as goats and finally emerging looking like hell. We have talked to the locals about how devastating the virus has been for the economy-factories and stores shut down and restaurant employees having to take up the slack for their co-workers who have been bitten. We didn’t attend the hash last week or volunteer for the reading program, and probably won’t this week either, due to our fears of this mosquito spread virus.
Even the cruiser children are starting to get on our nerves. They must be getting antsy too. Their running around tables at restaurants when we’re trying to enjoy a meal and their constant banter on the VHF radio is getting annoying. We try not to say anything because we sound like curmudgeons and we know that this stay for them in one spot must be getting tedious for them. Plus, they will be saying goodbye to the friends that they have made here once hurricane season comes to an end. We try to be sympathetic, but there are regulations on VHF radio use.
We haven't much to complain about, though, other than not sailing much. It is after all, lobster season.
And with nighttime views like this, well who the hell could bellyache?
So, to answer an email we received from a friend; Yes, indeed, we are ready to set sail. But today is the anniversary of Hurricane Hugo and last week the anniversary of Hurricane Ivan that ravaged Grenada, and it’s a reminder that we need to be vigilant and play it safe as far as weather in concerned. I’ve seen the devastating pictures and reports coming out of Baja, Mexico and the ravages of Odiles. It gives us pause. We may be getting itchy feet and our sails are ready to be aired out, but it’s best to side err on the side of caution. Also, wear our mosquito repellant and try to be nice to children, eat lots of lobster while we can and enjoy the view.
WHAT THE HELL IS A TYPICAL WOMAN, ANYWAY, MR. ROGERS??
YOWZA! Just when I thought life was getting uneventful, I get a comment on my blog (which I deleted) and one on a recent article that I wrote (that I had removed). Since the wording is very similar in both instances, I assume it’s from the same person who called himself Roy Rogers.
It’s my policy to delete any comments from my blog that are mean spirited or trollish in nature and resort to name-calling. I really do like it when people disagree with me on say, healthcare or climate change. Comment away, you have a right to your opinions and my blog is open to you. But damn it, I got a few words for Mr. Rogers. He’s expecting it anyway:
“I'm expecting some passive aggressive (typical) retort that she will assume is her phoney (sic) badge of superiority, when it's just more TYPICAL female bullshit”
I won’t be passive, Mr. Rogers, but be assured I will be aggressive in my defense of women who are sailors. But before I do, rest assured that I deleted your comments on MY blog because it’s MY blog and I can. I had the entry on Reddit removed as well, because I can. My blog is for my family and friends. I do not get technical about sailing and engine repair because, even though I have a working knowledge about each, it makes for boring reading that can be found in a library full of manuals. My blog is about our experiences and our journey. If that journey also involved some interesting insights into how our attitudes toward life have changed then, to me, that is more than interesting then engine repair. So, for everyone that is wondering what Mr. Rogers said to get my dander up, here it is, unedited, spelling errors included-added back in, but under my control:
This one in the comments section of my blog:
You're a sea dummy, floating around thinking you're an authority, and, as usual, a female who GROSSLY overestimates her intelligence, virtue, and skill set. You are a poor choice for ambassador of civilization, though an ACCURATE portrayal of a typical self righteous American female. I bet your husband will eventually throw you overboard while on a lonely voyage JUST to have some peace and quiet from you constant yammering about how profound you are.
Typical "all knowing" American blathering about HER superior lifestyle, while protraying HERSELF as some sort of exceptional human being.
Pathetic. I'm betting she actually knows VERY LITTLE about sailing, so compensates by PRETENDING to be an authority on the human species, the environment, and EVERYTHING else, that is AWASH in OPINIONS and usually devoid of FACTS. A typical DELUSIONAL American female, with an overblown sense of herself, her skills, her virtues, and her significance.
I'm expecting some passive aggressive (typical) retort that she will assume is her phoney badge of superiority, when it's just more TYPICAL female bullshit.
I'm also betting her husband will eventually chuck her overboard during a lonely voyage at night, just for the peace of mind, due to her obsessions with the irrelevant aspects of their current lives, and her CONSTANT whining about it.
I wonder if she even knows the principles of sailing or diesel engine function or heavy weather strategies or even the correct names for the functional parts of the boat she's on. She probably thinks knowing what the term "sloop" means (vaguely) is a mark of distinction for her in comparison to the rest of the species.
She's ALL about the stupid whale she saw. the black people she met, the balloons and lecturing others as if she is a significant component in this equation, when she ACTUALLY has little to no relevant skillset/expertise. What she will eventually find out is, the SQUEAKY wheel gets the grease once or twice, THEN it gets REPLACED. THAT will be a good day for the species.
I do not need to throw out there that I’ve been sailing for over 20 years. I am not delusional nor do I have an overblown sense of my skills, because, I know that at anytime the sea conditions or mechanical issues on the boat can humble us. So I educate myself on our vessel, weather, and everything else that will keep us safe. My husband relies upon me as much as I do him in that regard. If Mr. Rogers had read my entire blog, he would have seen how far we’ve come, conditions that we have been in and how we applied what we know and our experience sailing to get through those hair-raising moments. Do I expound on them in my blog? NO. I don’t want to scare my mother.
I’ll admit to being opinionated. I’ll admit that my world-view has changed. I’ll admit that I try to educate myself to be more articulate and speak intelligently. But this “Typical Woman” stuff is what really irks me.
I’ve read through Mr. Roger’s comments and what I see is a man who clearly hates women. He’d like to see me dead. In both posts he refers to my death. Trust me, Jim is not going to throw me overboard. I asked him, he said that he needs my “relevant skill set/expertise” to sail this boat.
As for your misogynistic rant, good grief, get somebody to give you a hug, Mr. Rogers. Then could you please walk around a marina ANYWHERE and see that there are woman sailing, repairing engines, varnishing their own boats, traveling by sail single handed, sewing their own canvass, installing their own water-makers, rebuilding their generators…..What is this “Typical female” you refer to? I’m sorry if a woman hurt you and maybe your mother wasn’t very nice to you, but please, there is no such thing as a “Typical Female”
You don’t know me, Mr. Rogers. I don’t need to list my credentials or my curriculum vitae for your approval. You made cruel, blanket statements about me without knowing that I served in the US Navy. That at one time I was homeless with three young children because my ex husband absconded with my savings. (By coincidence, his name was Roy too). There’s no way that you could know that I became a teacher and obtained a MA despite the odds against me. I didn’t need to travel to meet black people. I was a teacher in the US. You didn’t bother to see that we’ve sailed this vessel together for 5 years prior to making this voyage so that we could learn all her nuances and how she’d respond in all sorts of conditions. You make it sound like a wicked transgression that I care about the environment and think whales are magnificent creatures. Well, damn man, they are flipping cool and I will be a bit self-righteous about protecting them.
So, Mr. Rogers, if you are reading this and want to come back and play nice, you’re more than welcome. But don’t you EVER again come here on MY blog and call me a “dummy” or “typical woman” and spew your nasty, hate filled nonsense. There’s enough of that in this world, take it elsewhere.
Looking Back On The Past Year:
Jim and I have looked back on our past year of travel where we had sketchy internet and of course, no cell phone and certainly no television. That was back in the day when the satellite
phone was working properly. We were able to speak on the phone with family and friends and posts on social media were limited to pictures of where we had been and what we were seeing.
We've had great internet in Grenada thanks to Ricky's WIFI. For an affordable price we are able to get internet in most of the anchorages around the island. Thank goodness, since we've had some
car issues at home, health issues of a family member, and the satellite phone succumbed to salt water corrosion. After all these months of iffy internet, it's been nice to wake up and coffee with
a friend as we chat over private messaging and to read and catch up on the vacations and antics my friends had this summer. Social media is fantastic for the traveler to keep in contact with the
people back home.
CRUISER BEWARE, though! When a person has been gone from the comfort of home and exploring new places and meeting folk from all walks of life, their perspective will inevitably
change. We've been to some amazingly ritzy places where we were served drinks as we lounged in an infinity pool. That was remarkable and I'll admit to feeling like a princess for an
afternoon, but what has changed our perspective on our lives and that which we live back home is meeting people who live so differently from us. I'm not talking about the people who live in
some of the grand houses that have been built on the islands for well to do.
but the people whose families have lived here for generations. These islands belong to them and their life views are very interesting, very close to nature, and welcoming to the foreigner who
wants to learn and share in their culture. We are an oddity, us cruisers. We aren't visiting the island for a few short hours on a cruise ship and we aren't clustered in an all-inclusive
resort and restricted to the beach and amenities offered at those places. Those places are really nice for a vacation in paradise, but we aren't "on Vacation". This is our life. We shop at
the same grocery stores as the locals, buy produce from the local farmers, and engage socially with the residents.
Perspective changes when a Rastafarian sees that you're hurting from a sprained ankle. He's never met you, but he runs off only to come back moments later holding plants that he cut and he tells
you how to prepare them and apply to your ankle to bring down the swelling. No, it wasn't ganja. Rasta isn't all about weed and Bob Marley.
We have been to the interior portions of several islands and visited the small villages of huts where people live. We've had it explained to us how they use cisterns to collect rainwater for
their basic human needs. We've seen women washing clothes in the river. We've been invited to BBQs on the beach and to Oil Downs in the neighborhoods and been treated to history lessons on music
and customs that have been passed down since the days of slave trading. Jim and I talk a lot about how fortunate we are to have these experiences. They are life changing.
HERE COMES THE BEWARE PART
We have changed and people at home may not understand. We've watched sea turtle hatchlings making their way to the ocean while another huge leatherback makes her nest on the beach. A beautiful
whale as large as our boat bumped against the hull and stayed gliding along gracefully with us like she had just made a new friend. Swimming and diving and seeing so many beautiful fish, and yet
also observing once beautiful coral struggling to stay alive. I can't image that I ever cared so much how balloons kill wild life in the oceans, yet I get an internet connection and I see the
announcement for yet another huge balloon release at a college football game. I see another post on social media making the ridiculous claim that global warming is a scam. I end up hurting a
friend when I make a post about balloon releases. She is attending the funeral of a child and part of the memorial service is a balloon release. I feel terrible, but also torn. I live in this
environment. I see the impact of our actions, but I also don't want to hurt my friends by getting on a social media soap box and preaching.
I got tagged on Facebook to complete a challenge for raising funds for ALS. I backed out. We can't afford to waste water. I made my donation while NOT watching video after video being posted
where water was thrown around willy nilly without care or concern. I can't hep but think of how the people on Bequia would have appreciated a cold cup of water to quench their thirst. The boat
boy that paddled out to our boat just for a glass of clean drinking water didn't care that I put cucumber in it, although he did think that was a little weird. I find myself getting judgey about
waste, but remind myself that waste is a way of life back home. But I can't understand why people can't just make the donation without a gimmick.
We are very concerned about disease and health care for ourselves while traveling. My son can't visit us at the moment due to his condition that requires immediate, state of the art, advanced
medical technology if he has a seizure. It breaks my heart and his as well. Meanwhile, we cover ourselves in Deet to prevent dengue and chikungunya, dreadful mosquito delivered viruses. I read an
article about how these diseases are affecting the islands and the people who can't even afford Tylenol to lessen the pain. It saddens me that so much is taken for granted back home and the only
reports I see coming from the States are how this may affect someone's vacation. I left my Deet with some little local boys playing on the beach because I know that if they get bit and come down
with a virus the odds are that they won't see a doctor. They won't get care.
Then, being so well connected with media from the States now, I see that Ferguson, Missouri is on fire with rage as the black community lost one of their young men to a police shooting. Jim and I
muse that racism isn't what it is at home and discuss the historical implications and the differences.Two white people in a predominantly black country discussing race and talking about fear and
we conclude that if a person is fearful or doesn't want to engage with people of a darker skin color, then they wouldn't be here. Then THIS happens: As I'm on the boat alone while Jim was at
immigration extending his visa, I heard a call come over the radio from a fellow with an American accent on a boat anchored near us. He was giving out the warning that three local men were rowing
in a boat about the anchorage. The caller's fear was obvious. I was embarrassed for him. The men were merely fishing in the waters of THEIR home. I shake my head in disbelief. Jim has a
conversation later with one of the locals about the incident. The local was angry, hurt and disgusted. Somebody brought their fear and racism here. I too am angry, hurt and
I also see an article posted on Facebook by two of my friends that live in Racine, Wisconsin. The school district is removing books from the shelves and destroying them. Yes, right out Fahrenheit
451-they are DESTROYING books. I post a link in response to Hands Across The Sea and hint that I would help get these books into the hands of children who would appreciate them. Crickets. My two friends on Facebook
that originally posted the article were flabbergasted, but there was nothing else noted. No further indignation. It was a terrible, thoughtless waste of educational resources that could have gone
to a home here in the schools of the West Indies. But what's done is done, and I hate that attitude.
Jim and I often wonder HOW do we go home. We get asked often when will we be sailing back to the States and we aren't sure what the answer is. We have a house, cars, family and probably a notice
for jury duty...we eventually have to take care of our responsibilities back home, even if it's just a short visit. But there are so many offensive portions of life and attitudes in the States
that I really don't know how NOT to offend people by pointing them out. So, having great internet, I Googled: How to Stop Being
Great article. I guess the reason I take offense at the waste, attitudes, entitled posts on Facebook and other Social Media coming out of the States is because I'm just as guilty of waste, bad attitude and not taking action, sticking my head in the sand on societal issues, and being, well, American. No amount of creative writing will fix it, though. It's best just to post pictures on Facebook and do not engage. So, other cruisers and travelers, let me know: How DO we ever make the transition to go home? Or do we even try?